Monday, May 13, 3013 Today we traveled to Culebra, an island of Puerto Rico. After a forty five minute ferry ride we arrived. Upon arriving at Culebra, we walked to the only hospital on the island for a tour. It was like stepping back into the 1970’s! The hospital sees very few admitted patients. However Dengue is endemic to Puerto Rico, in the last two weeks they have seen six cases of Dengue Fever. As we continued the tour, we were able to see a newer x-ray machine and room being used as a storage room because they don’t have an x-ray technician. We also learned that most women have c-sections and must be sent to the main island for delivery. Throughout the hospital the were numerous medical notices, but upon leaving the hospital we noticed none on the island. During the hospital tour, the nurse exemplified the low crime and accident rates on Culebra. Next, we went to Melone Beach to go snorkeling at the reef. We were able to see the coral and a few species of fish. Half of our group traveled to Playa Trinto to snorkel with sea turtles. The other half went to Fleminco Beach. It is one of the top rated beaches in the world and has beautiful, clear blue water. Overall, this was one of the best days!
Amanda Mathis & David Baldo
May 15th, 2013 · Comments Off
The Puerto Rico group spend the morning at the Jardin de Envejeciento senior center. The students did a program and helped with lunch. This was great for practicing Spanish! I’m not sure who enjoys this the most, the seniors or the KC students!
Happy Mother’s Day from Puerto Rico. Today we had class in the lobby of the condo’s. During class while watching the beautiful ocean sights from the windowed wall we discussed everything we observed so far that pertained to Puerto Rico and Public Health. We learned that many educational messages are primarily spread orally and you can see many trucks with loud speakers. At first glance from the tourist view it seems many foods are fried. However Puerto Rico has access to farm to table fresh foods like fish, fruit and pork. It is important to cook foods in a way that decreases the bacteria count in such a warm climate. The food is truly muy delicioso.
Later we visited El Morro, also known as the castle. It is a tourist attraction and as built as a military base in the 17th century. You can get a real feel for what it might have felt like to be a soldier as there are very little fences or barriers. You can walk right to the edges and look at spots where cannon balls stuck in the castle while getting a look at the beautiful island and ships in the distance.�
Splash, after the cold misty refreshing rain we splashed into the giant overflowing water that filled the cobblestone streets. We ate pizza, drank coconut soda, and became intrigued by the historical and artistic statues throughout San Juan.
As night fell, we changed into our salsa attire and boarded el barco fiesta (party boat). We danced the bachata, meringue, and salsa to various genres of musica which also included some of our well known pop culture music. As a mother, the most memorable part was watching how the fathers and mothers were bonding with their children on the boat. There was a father shaking his hips as this four year old mirrored his movements, a mother twirling her daughters and another embracing her baby while swaying to the beat. This is just one more example of the feeling of closeness, and the importance of family that is prevalent in Puerto Rican culture. I hope to exemplify this love back at home. I wish others could feel the unique and special warmth within the culture.
Today we left for Puerto Rico! We left Keystone College at 2:30 AM and made the trip to Newark, N.J. to board an airplane to San Juan. When we arrived, we boarded a van and moved in to the condo. We had the opportunity to eat at two different restaurants today, which had some big differences to how things are in Pennsylvania. The most noticeable difference is the amount of animals that are around. The pigeons that were at our first restaurant had a lot of gall and would walk on the tables and would step under your feet to retrieve anything that you might have dropped. There were also a number of stray cats around, which do not have any immunizations. At our second restaurant, we ate at a place right near the ocean where fishermen sell their fish. The fish was very fresh and nothing was prepared beforehand. The standards for cleanliness seem similar, with the fish being kept on ice. After a long day, we retired to the condo for some much deserved rest.
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Saturday May 11, 2013 El Yunque The Rain forest by Jennifer Kern
As our group traveled to El Yunque in Puerto Rico, the sight was breath taking.
Our hike through the sunny rainforest first presented us with Coco Falls. Throughout the hike we heard coqui frogs, saw giant plants, bamboo, palm trees, and finally made our way to the top. The view from almost 3000 feet was stunning. After lunch in the van, on our way back, we stopped at a river in the rainforest, where we swam and saw a very large lizard climbing in the trees. We ended the day eating papayas, rice and beans and pork while listening to our guest speakers Sra. Mercedes Cruz and Sra. Teresa Cruz who spoke about Education and working in a laboratory in Puerto Rico.
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This week there is a group of Keystone students in Puerto Rico. Twelve students are on the trip lead by Joyce Avila and Dorothy Anthony. The students are taking courses in Global Health, Sociology of Diversity, and Spanish. I will be posting short notes from the journals of the students and pictures of the activities. The first half of the trip will be in Luquillo and then the group will move to Ponce for the second half of the trip. Watch for the posts and pictures!
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Today, I would like to visit Taiwan. This beautiful island has so many things to see. There are 8 national parks on the island! They have so many festivals! I would like to be there for the Dragon Festival, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival or the Lake Music Festival. It seems as if there is a festival every month! There are beaches and hot salt water baths in the corals by the sea. It’s warm there most of the time! How about the food? The Asian cuisine is amazing! You can experience all the flavors of Chinese food here. I would like to visit the city of Taipei, but mostly to see the real culture in the beautiful country side. There is a wonderful family that I know that live in Taiwan. I would love to visit them and their home someday.
October 16th, 2012 · Comments Off
I have had scatter brain syndrome lately. Toooooo much stuff!!!! This is the tenth time that I have begun to write and something distracts me. Then, I never get back to posting again for a few days later. India would be my fifth choice. International students have attending from Chennai, Mumbai, and Bangalore. When students from India are around, it give me the chance to go to the Indian restaurant for the food that I love (as long as it’s not too hot). There is only one Indian restaurant in this area, so I never get to go very often. The fragrance of Indian spices and curry is amazing to me!
If I decided to travel to India, I would first visit the temples and sit along the Ganges River just to watch the people as they go about their daily routine. I would like to take the train and travel to New Delhi.� The cities are large and beautiful, but I would like to visit some of the rural areas to see how the people live. During festival time would be a good time to visit. There are people in traditional dress and dancing The tables of arts and crafts would be hard to resist. Food markets are also my favorite places to visit. India seems like a wonderful and interesting country. One good thing about India is that most people speak English which would be good for me. If I decide to visit, I will contact my dear friends for personal tours.
September 14th, 2012 · Comments Off
The first couple of weeks of school have been crazy! I am finally getting around to the next choice of where to go! Today, I was thinking about all my friends from Japan and the fun it was for me the first couple of weeks of school. The students would arrive at Keystone with little or no English. Back in the day, most of the new students came from Japan. I enjoyed so much getting to know them, learning their names and helping them with every day things we take for granted. Everything was a challenge for them, but they were so excited to be here and learn everything. Many of the Japanese students are now in their 30’s with families. I have about 60 former Japanese students as friends on my Facebook. Posted are pictures of their children and I so want to be there. I would love to visit there and spend about 3 weeks traveling around Japan. I would go from Tokyo to Yokohama to Mia to Sendai to Osaka to Kyoto and to Nara-Ken. This is the route that I took last time when I visited there 10 years ago. But this time, not only would I visit the alumni, but meet the families. What a great time I would have!
Yesterday was my birthday and as usual, I received a call from my dear friend, Ada in Ghana. I met Ada some years ago when her daughter was attending Keystone. She would come to visit her a couple of times a year. A year later, she also brought her son to attend Keystone. Every time she would come to visit, I would spend time getting to know her and learn more about the country of Ghana. As a result, we have become friends sharing pictures and e-mails. It has been some time since her children attended Keystone, but she always call me on special occasions to let me know she is thinking of me. I would love to go and visit Ada and her family in Ghana. Maybe sometime in the future, a faculty member and I could coordinate a service learning trip to this wonderful country. I would like to spend some time at the schools and day care and especially with the children.